Community Spotlight: Celebrating Valentine's Day in the Heart of Town

February 13, 2020 | Community Spotlight: Celebrating Valentine's Day in the Heart of Town | By: Abby Armato, Communications Coordinator, NMSC

From romantic dinners at a local favorite to beautiful bouquets from the corner florist, Valentine's Day is a great opportunity to get people into your downtown to shop, eat, and play. This year, we’ve gathered some innovative ideas from around the Main Street America Network that showcase districts using the holiday to show a little Main Street Love. From sweet events to smart programming, read on for some great examples of how to turn Valentine’s Day into a Downtown Valentine’s Day.

San Marcos, Tex.

The annual Kissing Alley mailbox in San Marcos, Tex., encouraged a visit to downtown while mailing a little love. The San Marcos Main Street Program placed a festively decorated box in an alley in the heart of their downtown. With the correct postage affixed, letters and cards could be sent from the alley with the sweet stamp of downtown romance: “Sent from Kissing Alley.”

“We’re excited to share the romance and fun of a stroll through Downtown San Marcos with the world, one Valentine at a time,” said Downtown Coordinator Josie Falletta in a recent interview. This innovating program gets people downtown and walking around: a perfect way to encourage a last-minute Valentine’s gift purchase or dinner reservation.
San_Marcos__TX.jpgPhoto Credit: San Marcos Main Street Program

Barracks Row, D.C.

We ❤️ the Hearts On Main initiative in Barracks Row, D.C. Inspired by a similar program they saw in Colfax Avenue BID, Colo., Barracks Row Main Street installed hand-painted hearts along their corridor, turning 8th Street into a street of hearts. These 22” by 22” wooden signs included space for personalized messages of love from across the community. This program was more than sweet signs along the districtBarracks Row Main Street turned the event into a fundraiser with varying prices for different lengths of personalized messages. And for those planning to propose downtown on Valentine’s Day? The heart was free!

Equal parts fundraiser and holiday decor, this smart program encouraged people to spend their Valentine's Day downtown along the street of hearts.
Photo Credit: Barracks Row Main Street

Covington, Ga.

Main Street Covington used this season of love to highlight their local merchants. Throughout February, this Main Street program posted photos of their downtown business owners holding hearts with quotes about why they loved their downtown. This social media campaign brilliantly showcased the people behind the businesses and their commitment to their local community.

All of this love online led up to Covington’s 2nd Annual Chocolate Stroll—a sweet walk full of discounts and events at the local businesses downtown!
Photo Credit: Main Street Covington

Valley Junction, West Des Moines, Iowa

For Historic Valley Junction, love is in the stories. This Valentine’s Day, Historic Valley Junction Foundation asked their community to share stories of love: falling in love in downtown, falling in love with downtown, and loving local at large. The Main Street program gathered submissions from across their district and shared these stories online, asking for others to vote on their favorite story. The winning story received a basket full of sweet and lovely items from local businesses.

This creative social media campaign reminded us all that love is always abundant in our downtown districts.
Photo Credit: Historic Valley Junction Foundation

Be sure to tag us in your own Downtown Valentine's Day initiatives using #DowntownValentine and #MainStreetLove for a chance to be highlighted on our Twitter and Instagram channels during the holiday! ​​